Wednesday, November 24, 2021

My Brain Said "Don't Engage," But I Did Not Listen

 We all sometimes make silly decisions and do things we know we oughtn't. 

My most recent blunder was engaging in Twitter discourse with the crowd that think that Dungeons & Dragons is primarily a tool for "storytelling," that DMs are obligated to provide the players with story arcs, tension building, and other techniques of crafting a narrative. At their most extreme (and I know I am speaking in generalities), player characters should never die unless it's "dramatically appropriate." 

I was crafting an essay, perhaps a meditation, on how storytelling is one style of play, that there are roleplaying games that integrate storytelling into gameplay, and that it has always been a secondary concern in Dungeons & Dragons specifically as opposed to other games. However, with my would-be father-in-law's funeral just a two days behind me, the holiday tomorrow, and my marriage coming up this weekend, I haven't the energy to finish it. Also, reviewing the discourse, and the smug strawman arguments and the assumptions that people who don't prioritize storytelling as the primary objective of Dungeons & Dragons somehow "don't get it," I've decided to boil my whole thesis into just two bullet points: 

-In the words of Homer Simpson, "Just because I don't care doesn't mean I don't understand," and 

-Dude, it was a fucking first level character. Get over it. It'll take you all of ten minutes to make another one. 

In the meantime, I have set a start date of December 7th for OpenQuest 3. It'll be nice to be in the saddle again. 

Enjoy your holiday, whatever traditions you may have. 


  1. One of the ironies in the whole argument is that traditional sandbox dungeon play is essentially a fulfillment of Cambell's hero's journey (or the shorthand version that is Dan Harmon's story circle). Thats one of the reasons the original game became so popular.

    Anyone can build a theme park. It is MUCH more fun to create a world and have stories emerge from play, not vice versa. Until someone experiences it, however, they just don't get it.

  2. Sorry about your loss and congrats on your wedding. That is quite a week you have going on.

    I was inspired to write about that Twitter shit show as well. I had more time to do it which is good because it took me way longer than I intended to get the idea out of my head.

    Hopefully, you are doing something fun for your honeymoon. Best wishes to you.

  3. I am so sorry to hear about your father in law. With the wedding this weekend that is a tremendous range of emotions to handle.

    We live in an age where dissenting opinions are unacceptable, despite claims of open-mindedness and inclusivity. People just need to stay in their own lane. Took me a while to learn that one myself.

  4. My main use of Twitter is following news on my sports teams…and then mainly baseball (since I can’t be bothered to WATCH 162 games per year).


    I don’t think I said congrats before on your upcoming nuptials. Congratulations, man. I hope you and the spouse can build a decent place of kindness and mutual support for each other…it’s a valuable commodity to cultivate in our sometimes jumbled world.

    Best wishes, happy holidays.